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Action is needed to address public safety, Anderson says

East County News Service

January 22, 2022 (San Diego) -- At the January 25 Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Joel Anderson will present a letter to the board urging the County to be prepared to face anticipated upcoming public safety personnel shortages throughout the region as vaccine mandates, retirements, recruitment and retention issues impact staffing levels.

A San Diego Police Officers Association survey in September 2021, found that approximately 90 percent of San Diego Police officers surveyed oppose vaccine mandates and that 45 percent said they would rather be fired than comply.

This statistic, paired with the fact that applications to SD Sheriff’s Department have decreased 25 percent during the past year and decreased 36 percent between 2018 and 2021, has Anderson concerned.

Vaccine hesitancy is one factor, but not the only one, since the Sheriff’s department has not required COVID-19 vaccines but still had huge declines in applicants. The drop coincides with new police accountability and transparency laws at the state level, the rise in racial equity concerns, SDPD’s mandate, and the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed several local officers and is the leading cause of police officers’ deaths nationwide, to name a few potential reasons behind the officer attrition.  

“Smash and grab crimes are on the rise statewide—including here in San Diego County,” Anderson shared. He added, “Our Board of Supervisors needs to take action to ensure that people living in the County feel safe and protected, including City of San Diego residents who may be losing hundreds of SDPD officers this year.”

Anderson’s Board Letter would direct the Chief Administrative Officer to work with the Sheriff’s Dept. and return to the Board with practical updates and recommendations to address future public safety staffing shortages.

Residents are encouraged to share their opinions on this agenda item ahead of the January 25 meeting.

It is unclear what actions Supervisors might take to address the shortage, but potential steps could include checking to see how pay and benefits compare with other law enforcement agencies in the region,  beefing up recruitment efforts in local communities and outside the region, surveying officers on their concerns, examining COVID-19 safety protocols, and evaluating retention/loss after SDPD’s vaccine mandate actually kicks in, to name a few potential options.

Supervisor Anderson has launched a petition for the public to sign asking the board to prepare for anticipated shortages of law enforcement officers.  You can sign the petition here.  For instructions on the various ways that you can be engaged in the upcoming board meetings, please visit the County's website.

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hey anderson

why don't you apply??? you might be better at it then being a supervisor.